Something is terribly wrong

by Benjie Oliveros

The killing of 17-year old Kian Delos Santos has enraged netizens, human rights groups, the Catholic Church, cultural artists, and has alarmed the general public. The brazenness, the impunity, and the lies being peddled as official account of the killing shocked a lot of people. Kian allegedly resisted arrest and initiated a firefight. However, the CCTV footage of the barangay showed policemen dragging, nay carrying, Kian to the dark corner where he was killed.

Officials, allies and supporters of the Duterte administration have been packaging the issue as a choice between the life of a drug addict cum courier vs. that of potential victims. But it has never been proven that Kian was a drug addict much less a courier.

Malacañang and the Philippine National Police (PNP) claim that Kian was a courier for his father and uncles, allegedly neighborhood toughies and pushers. Well, if that were true, why pick on 17-year old Kian? Why did they not go after the father or the uncles or their alleged suppliers, in the first place? Nothing adds up.
Obviously, the official accounts were attempts at a cover up.

How many innocent lives have been snuffed out in the name of the illegal drug war? Would the killings, even of innocent people and minors, assure the public that a lot is being done to make the streets safe from drug pushers?

There lies the problem. When the Duterte administration praised the police for killing 32 people in drug raids in Bulacan, it’s as if the progress in the anti-drug war is measured by the body count. Have there been reports that the trade on illegal drugs has been stopped or lessened? Has the supply of illegal drugs been cut off? Has the incidence of drug use lessened? With the thousands killed already, is the country any nearer to resolving the drug problem?

No. What is being fed to the public is the number of alleged drug users being killed.

So the police are being motivated to kill just about anybody so that they would be able to say that they are doing something about the drug problem. They could even kill you if they do not like your face. Even if a police officer is involved in the illegal drug trade, he could just embark on a killing spree and his record would be deemed as stellar.

Isn’t that what President Duterte said about the 32 killed in supposed drug raids in Bulacan? If only the police could kill 32 persons a day then they are doing a good job.

But did they say anything about freeing Bulacan from the drug problem? Nope.

The issue is also about arbitrary, summary, and extrajudicial killings.

It is an issue of impunity, justice, and respect for life.

It is true that a lot of violent crimes are being committed by drug-crazed criminals. It is also true that the illegal drug problem is serious and must be addressed. But embarking on a killing spree, killing even innocent people is not the way to go, or rather, it would not take the country anywhere near addressing the drug problem.

Killing people, even innocent ones, to impress to the public that the government is doing something about the drug problem is terribly wrong. It may, for the sake of argument, have worked in Davao because those involved in the drug trade would just move out of the city and transfer their base of operations elsewhere. But for the whole country, this simplistic, criminal solution would not work.

The Duterte administration’s trolls have the habit of scaring people criticizing the drug killings by saying: what if your relative becomes the next victim of a drug-crazed criminal? The same thing could be said to them: what if your relative becomes the next victim of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killing? It’s all the same, the only difference is that the latter are in uniform and are given medals.

We should stand for what is right and just. This is no longer about loyalties or political parties. This is about justice.

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